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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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absolute number of functional illiterates (with less than 5 years of schooling) is not to increase, school enrollment ratios must rise, and, hence, the number of teachers to be trained must grow faster than the growth in population. This will also be true of physicians and health workers if the number of people for whom health services are unavailable is to be lowered. One task of policymakers in health and education is to balance the demands for quantitative increases due to population growth against the needs for improving the quality and level of education and the distribution, range, and effectiveness of health services.
Food and Agricultural Production
During the 1950's, development strategies in many less developed nations were concentrated on attempts at industrialization, in part based on the example of such recently developed countries as the Soviet Union. But these strategies did not reckon with the unexpected and unprecedentedly high rates of population growth which appeared after World War II and accelerated throughout the next 15 years. Though industrialization sometimes proceeded at a rapid pace, industrial employment usually increased more slowly, and the absolute number of people supported by the industrial sector lagged behind the growth of population, with the result that the number of people tied to the land in agriculture greatly increased. At the same time, population growth has brought about a vast increase in food requirements. Consequently, agriculture continues to be the base of the economy in most of the less developed world. In recent years, it has been widely recognized that much greater emphasis on agricultural improvement is essential for overall economic and social growth, and more balanced development strategies have been undertaken.
In Asia, where nearly all arable land is already farmed and most of the world's people live, a revolution in agricultural technology must occur if rapidly growing populations are to be fed even at present levels, let alone improved diets. For both economic and physiologic reasons, the rate of growth of food supplies should be substantially greater than the rate of population growth. The situation is summed up by the FAO.*
Assuming a 2.6 percent annual increase in population there will be an extra one billion people in the developing countries by 1985. This alone would require an 80 percent increase in food supplies by that year compared with 1962, without any improvement in quantity or quality of individual diets. Success in raising income levels along the lines proposed in the "high variant" of the economic model, and consequent improvements in purchasing power, would increase demand for food by 142 percent
*U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, Indicative Plan for Agricultural Development, Main Conclusions and Policy Indications of Provisional Indicative World Plan. Rome, August 1969. Vol. Ill, p. 57.